Authors: Monika Arora, Abha Tewari, Shalini Bassi, Kavita Chauhan, Shikha Bhasin, Ann-Sofie Bakshi, and Sven Andréasson
Title: Exploring perceptions of alcohol use in two Indian states: A qualitative study from Delhi and Haryana, India
Journal: International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research
Aims: To explore perceptions and determinants influencing alcohol consumption, with a view to inform development of suitable policies to control alcohol consumption.
Methods: Focus group discussions (FGDs) (n=24) were conducted in two Indian states among the rural Haryana (n=8 FGDs; 58 participants) and urban Delhi (n=16 FGDs; 113 participants) populations. Purposive sampling was used to recruit the participants, who were from high and low socioeconomic status (SES) groups and in the age group of 18–58 years.
Results: Different factors influence alcohol consumption in high and low SES groups. The age of initiation is now as low as 10–12 years, attributable to the recent trend of increased accessibility. The participants agreed that alcohol consumption has now become a more acceptable part of daily living, whereas earlier it was limited to special occasions and festivals. This has contributed to an increase in drinking. Drinking among women was earlier a taboo, but now women (mainly of high SES), are often seen drinking at social gatherings. The respondents mentioned weak enforcement of regulatory policies related to alcohol consumption and sales.
Conclusion: A shift in attitudes was observed towards drinking. Drinking is increasingly seen as a part of daily life. The availability of alcohol is perceived to be increasing and restrictions on sale are not effectively enforced. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the alcohol policy from a public health perspective in India.